At school kids love to draw. Give them a blank piece of paper and a pencil or crayons and with no hesitation they will get busy. As they get older the blank page scares them into writer’s block and illustrator’s block, but not when they’re 5 years old. They love to draw.
I can tell a lot about a child by their drawings. I’m fascinated by them, because they give me a window into their world, one they can’t articulate but from their perspective things seem very different from the same world I inhabit with them. Grass is taller. Needles are longer. Things they don’t talk about, like harvesting corn, they draw. Random things that otherwise I’d never have known they enjoy or think about.
I work in a kindergarten and as the kids draw things that tickle me I collect them. I have a stash of kid art going back five years now. Here it is, including the latest entries.
This little guy wound up in the hospital overnight. He drew, from left to right, the men’s and ladies rest room doors (across from his room). Click to enlarge, and note the detail with which he illustrated the difference between the men’s door and the ladies’. The next object is the TV on the high shelf mounted on the wall, with the plugs and wires hanging down. There he is on the hospital bed, with the nurse approaching with what looks to be a very long needle. Next to that is a family member sitting in the chair, and behind that is the tray full of medical objects the nurse had wheeled in- all needles.
|Alligator, by K.|
I think this is the most evocative alligator I’ve ever seen. With a few pencil strokes she captured the actual physical look and the spooky fierceness of the animal.
|Combine harvesting corn, by W.|
In this one, I can feel the heat of the sun, see the dry stalks on the dusty ground and hear the rumble of the huge machinery as it grinds up the corn.
|Ant, by A.|
My, but that ant looks tired. Just like A. usually did.
|Visit to the Dentist, by H.|
Above from l-r, we have the door to the examining room, then the dentist holding the tube, then the patient with mouth wide open, mama standing by, and below, a random picture of a mouth with teeth.
|Love, by A.|
Above is an end-of-year picture given to me by a child, it is her and me, she said, with the heart in between. It’s my favorite.
Once per year the kindergarten has Chalk Day. The children bring in colored chalk and they are allowed to sit on the pavement and draw as many pictures as they want. Until this year, I’d despaired a little because after only a few moments it seemed that the bulk of them became discontent and wanted to do something else. They complained, they fussed, they said it was boring. Was chalk drawing on the sidewalk a past-time from an era gone by? Well, this year my hopes were restored. The children settled into drawing very nicely, put time and effort into their creations, and cooperated like champions, helping each other out and making suggestions like pros. The photos don’t do the chalk drawings justice, but here they are.
In 9 1/2 days I’ll say goodbye to this year’s crop. I believe I have done my best to support the children and support the teachers who teach the children. But with kids, you always wonder did I do enough? Did I do all I could to ensure they had the best support socially, physically, academically? In the end, the best I can do is the best I can do, and time will tell what kind of little people they will grow into. They’ll pass on to the next grade, where another group of teachers and staff are waiting to take them under their wing like we did. So long and farewell, my little ducklings.